The surreal forest was both terrifying and beautiful to Oliver. The ominous black leaves and thistles had their own unique sense of mystique, but also emitted an eerie aura of mistrust and vile. It seemed like the branches had their own desire to hold Oliver back, constantly getting in his way and appearing almost out of nowhere. Did the witch control this entire forest as well as her domain? Perhaps this forest was her domain; five hundred acres of pure evil.
Noticing movement in the not-so-distant distance, Oliver stopped and held his breath, gripping onto a tree for support. Oliver's eye sight had never been top notch; the thick fog, darkened sky and plentiful trees took immediate advantage of that disadvantage. The rustling of the trees seemed to draw closer with every breath. His jacket and jeans torn by the branches, it occurred to Oliver that he was probably bleeding. If whatever was making the movement had a keen sense for blood...
As the unsettling sounds of invisible movement drew nearer, Oliver became stiller. So still that soon, he could've been mistaken for a statue or a frozen corpse. As if it never happened in the first place, the rustling in the darkness suddenly ceased. After several, anxious minutes of waiting and pleading to Heaven above, Oliver came out from behind the tree and took a few, cautious steps. Once he was able to take about fifty steps without any detection of mysterious noise, Oliver regained his sense of confidence and once more continued to blaze through the woods. Not as wise as Ethan and not as carefree as Ryan, Oliver had arts and athletics on his side. This talent made traversing the forest much easier on him than it had been for Ethan a few nights ago.
Oliver got his foot snagged by a protruding root and fell forward, nearly smacking his face into the dirt. This made quite a rumble, causing dozens of crows to screech and ascend into the early morning sky. He stood up, shook the dirt and grime from his body and pressed forward.
The sound of breaking bone accompanied by the initial numbness of pain could only mean one thing. Oliver stopped where he was and turned around to see a small black bear, seizing Oliver's right leg in its powerful jaws. At that moment, Oliver's mind went blank. All of his logical thought subsided as nerve receptors overloaded his cranium with uncomfortable feelings. After the initial shock, there was extrasensory observation. Oliver felt the warmth of the beast's hungry saliva lathering his pant leg, the way his blood mixed with it so smoothly. He felt the deadness of his leg, the desire to move it away from the animal but the reality that it was no longer a salvageable limb. Next was, of course, the pain. Oliver's mind was practically flooded with a billion feelings of pain, sent from each and every nerve in the young man's dying leg.
The look in the bear's eyes was sinister and demonic. Red to the core, they seemed to pierce right into Oliver's soul and- Oh God, the pain! Oliver collapsed to the forest floor and turned to face his vanquisher. The animal released Oliver's limb from its grasp, but relief was not a luxury Oliver could afford. Within seconds, a second black bear arrived, with the same, hate-filled, bloodshot eyes of pure rage. Each creature grabbed a hold of one leg and hauled Oliver away. The trip wasn't the most comfortable one, causing Oliver's body to collide with various blunt- It hurts! It hurts so much. The pain is just unbearable. The feeling of no control... I can't control my own legs. They're gone; just useless, broken pieces of meat attached to my lower torso now.
"You were going the wrong way," a voice whispered inside Oliver's head, "But these two will guide you to my domain."
Guide me? Oliver thought, chuckling a little. This is anything but guiding.
At this point, Oliver was very, very light-headed. Pain was but a feeling of the past, replaced by blankness and inexplicable pleasantness.
Visions of the past began to seep into Oliver's subconsciousness. His first girlfriend, his first birthday cake, the triplets' treehouse in which they spent some of their best years in, playing Space Adventures with the neighbour kids... Oliver's first love, a pretty little thing who later turned out to be a huge backstabber and generally unfaithful human being. All of these memories and more made themselves comfortable in Oliver's mind, forcing him to relive some of the best and worst years of his short life.
After viewing these short bursts of love and loss, Oliver realized one thing: nothing was infallible. The brothers had such a strong foundation, such a loving, pure connection, but all it took to raze that to the ground was one, simple confession. No matter how strong something seemed, there would always be a small flaw that would eventually bring it to its knees. He also took this time to question reality: was this real, right now? Was he really being dragged through a malevolent forest in England by two stunted black bears personifying pure evil? Perhaps this was just a dream, or a premonition of what would occur if he were to attempt to rescue Ethan. Maybe Oliver was asleep in his apartment right now... Either way, there didn't seem to be any way out of the situation at the moment.